China economic data keep getting better. The country's industrial production rose 9.7 percent year over year in July, above consensus and its fastest pace since the beginning of the year. Retail sales were also strong.
This follows yesterday's strong trade data. Commodities are up for a second day.
In the U.S., economic news has been decent: over the last week, four of five indicators have been positive: jobless claims, trade deficit, ISM services, and ISM manufacturing. Only non-farm payrolls have disappointed.
Bottom line: a) China is improving; b) money is moving into Europe on hopes of a bottom (helping the euro to rally); c) there is better economic news in the U.S.; and d) Japan remains a worry, as belief in Abenomics fades somewhat -- a factor behind the yen strengthening, which was a major problem this week.
1) Snap, crackle, pop: big week for IPOs. Six offerings have priced overnight, bringing to nine the total number of flotations pricing this week. August is normally a dead month, but IPO activity has been strong thanks to the stock market at new highs.
What's hot: biotech (Intrexon (XON) a hit yesterday), and software in the cloud (Cvent and MiX Telematics today). Master Limited Partnerships (MLP) are still coming out (World Point Terminals and WEP Midstream today) as a dividend play, but that story is getting old.
Pricing overnight at the NYSE include:
a) Cvent (CVT) (event management software) priced 5.6 million shares at $21 each, above the $17-$19 range;
b) Frank's International (FI) (Oil Services) priced 30 million shares at $22 apiece, above the $19-$21 range;
c) QEP Midstream Partners (QEPM) (Master Limited Partnership) priced 20 million shares at $21 each, high end of $19-$21 range, with a 5 percent yield;
d) World Point Terminals (WPT) (oil terminals, also a Master Limited Partnership) priced 8.8 million shares at $20 apiece, middle of $19-$21 range, with a 6 percent yield;
e) MiX Telematics (MIXT) (fleet management software) prices 6.3 million shares at $16 each, high end of $14-$16 range. This is not a true IPO, because it already trades in Johannesburg, South Africa;
At the NASDAQ: Stock Building Supply (STCK) (lumber supplies) priced 7 million shares (less than the 8.8 million expected) at $14 each, below $16-$18 range.
2) Stock mutual funds see their 31st straight week of inflows, raking in a healthy $3.97 billion in the week ended Wednesday, according to Lipper. Money also poured into bonds last week with bond mutual funds collecting $3.89 billion in assets.
3) Tableau Software, one of the first exclusively Big Data companies to go public (back in May), reported earnings of $0.01, well above expectations of a loss of $0.16, and revenues were stronger than expected. Guidance was raised. They added a record 1,500 new customers.
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani